Monday, May 29, 2023

YOU ASKED IT | 19 May, 2023

Now that Fast X has released this week, will it adversely affect the box-office collections of The Kerala Story?

– A running film, that too a super-hit, does not get adversely affected by a new release, however big. Since the third week of the blockbuster THE KERALA STORY commences today, collections are bound to come down, but to blame the decline on the new big Hollywood release, FAST X, would not be right.  

Is controversy the surest formula for a film’s success?

– Not at all! If you are referring to the stupendous success of THE KERALA STORY, perish the thought that it is breaking records only because it is a controversial film. There are countless examples of films failing at the box-office in spite of major controversies surrounding them before release. Controversies help the box-office of a film only if its content is entertaining.

Will Rajkumar Hirani’s Dunki hit the screens on Christmas this year? For, if it does, there will be a gap of just three-and-a-half months between Shah Rukh Khan’s Jawan and Dunki.

– DUNKI is almost complete and will be comfortably ready for release in the Christmas week this year. JAWAN is slated to hit the screens on 7th September. A gap of three-and-a-half months between the release of the two SRK starrers is good enough, don’t you think so? 

YOU ASKED IT | 12 May, 2023

What is your opinion on the trailer of Adipurush?

– Absolutely fantastic. Looking to the trailer and the public response to the same, it can safely be estimated that the film will take a historic initial. 

To what do you attribute the stupendous success of The Kerala Story?

– First and foremost, to the film, its subject and its bold making. Everything else — controversy before release, controversy after release, etc. — comes thereafter. Yes, the controversy before the release did help the film take a fantastic start, but that start could’ve remained just that (a great start) as the film would’ve crashed after the first show if the film was not good enough. But the content of the film is so compelling that the film was destined to score big time at the ticket windows.

Where does the runaway success of The Kerala Story leave the theory that only big and spectacular films will work in the cinemas, other films will be enjoyed on OTT platforms?

– The theory stands discarded. It was a flawed theory in the first place, and it had to be dismissed some day as being baseless. THE KERALA STORY has done just that — proven the theory wrong.

YOU ASKED IT | 5 May, 2023

Why has Jawan been postponed? Will it open big?

– Obviously, because work still remains to be done to complete the film, and that may not be over before 2nd June. As for its initial, one can very safely expect JAWAN to open not just big but huge! After all, it is coming as the Shah Rukh Khan starrer release after the stupendous success of PATHAAN.

What are the new release dates of Maidaan and Satyaprem Ki Katha?

– They haven’t been finalised. Till the new release date of JAWAN is not announced officially, the release schedules of the other big films of June, like MAIDAAN and SATYAPREM KI KATHA, cannot be finalised. 

Why did The Kerala Story take a good opening today? I’m asking this question because the film has as good as nil face value.

– The trailer of THE KERALA STORY and the controversy surrounding its release did the trick. There have been so many discussions around the film in private circles and in the media too in the last few days that the awareness about and excitement around the film have been big. All that has translated into an impressive opening. You can be sure that the film will grow very big as the public reports are extremely positive. 

YOU ASKED IT | 28 April, 2023

Why has the dubbed Hindi version of PS-2 been released this week when the dubbed Hindi version of PS – I did not do too well at the box-office?

– PS – I did supremely well in Tamil, hence PS-2. And since the first part was dubbed in Hindi, the producers have also dubbed part 2 in spite of the fact that the first part did average business in Hindi. The first part ended with a clear promise of a second part. So, the producers had to fulfil that promise as much for the Tamil film-going audience as for the Hindi.

Which is a bigger industry — the Hindi film industry or the Hindi OTT industry?

– Undoubtedly, the Hindi OTT industry is far bigger than the Hindi film industry.

With the huge slate of films and web series announced by Jio Studios recently, do you predict that Jio will soon become the biggest studio?

– You bet, it will soon be the biggest studio. Perhaps, Jio might aim at releasing 52 films a year, or, in other words, one every week!

YOU ASKED IT | 21 April, 2023

It took several years for the box-office record of Bahubali 2: The Conclusion (Hindi dubbed) to be broken by Pathaan. How many years will it now take for the record of Pathaan to be surpassed?

– There’s no science or mathematical calculation to arrive at the answer to your question. It could happen within a few weeks or it could take several years for the record of PATHAAN to be broken. 

Why did Bholaa not touch even Rs. 100 crore? Does it mean that the film was rejected by the audience?

– Had BHOLAA been rejected by the public, it wouldn’t have been possible for it to cross Rs. 75 crore in three weeks. Its complete alienation of the ladies and family audience restricted its appeal to the mass base of audience only. Another reason why it could not inch its way to the Rs. 100-crore mark is the fact that lakhs of people had already seen the original, Tamil KAITHI (of which BHOLAA is a remake), on the various platforms available, either with subtitles or dubbed in Hindi.

Will Salman Khan’s next be Sooraj Barjatya’s film?

– Yes, Salman Khan will star in Sooraj Barjatya’s next. But it will be a few months before that film starts.

YOU ASKED IT | 14 April, 2023

On the one hand, exhibitors are wondering whether cinema has a future, and on the other, Jio Studios earlier this week announced a slate of so many films for the theatres. Isn’t this an anomaly?

– I won’t call it an anomaly. I’d rather say, exhibitors must rejoice that their fears may be unfounded, after all. If Jio Studios has gotten full throttle into film production for the cinemas (besides content for OTT), the studio must’ve done a lot of due diligence before investing thousands of crores into a business which is quite new for it. 

If South Indian language films are being released simultaneously in Hindi after dubbing them, why can’t other language films also be released likewise in Hindi on the same day as in the original language?

– Most of the other language film producers haven’t been dubbing their regional content in Hindi even after the original language films have become hits, what to talk of simultaneously releasing them in Hindi. If you recall, even in the case of South language films, they used to be dubbed in Hindi only months after the original films had released. Besides, only a few of the South films used to be dubbed in Hindi. The system of dubbing them in advance and releasing the dubbed versions simultaneously with the original language started after COVID-19 lockdowns. 

How has the response of the trade been to the teaser of Pushpa 2?

– Phenomenal! Not just people in the trade but also members of the public have loved the teaser of PUSHPA 2.

YOU ASKED IT | 7 April, 2023

Will Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan take a decent opening?

– It should take a good initial because the songs of the film are gaining in popularity and also because it will release on Eid. We all know, Salman Khan starrers on Eid have a unique magical effect at the box-office.

What do you think about Aditya Chopra’s casting of Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan together in Tiger Vs Pathaan?

– Going forward, films starring two and three A-list heroes will become more common than they are today. That’s one option available to producers to bring the audience back to the cinemas in a big way. Aditya Chopra’s move is masterly.

When will Aamir Khan start his next film?

– He has taken a sabbatical of 18 months. Six months have passed by, another year to go before he faces the camera.

YOU ASKED IT | 31 March, 2023

Would the initial of Bholaa have been better had many people not seen Kaithi, the Tamil film of which Bholaa is a remake?

– Yes, the fact that many people had already seen KAITHI definitely affected the opening of BHOLAA adversely to an extent. But there are other factors too, responsible for the below-the-mark initial: its trailer was not liked by the public as much as its teaser; its release on an odd day (Thursday) even though it was Ram Navmi (point to be noted is that Ram Navmi is a partial holiday, not a complete holiday); and the ongoing Ramzan period.

Is delaying the OTT release of films an answer to the dwindling box-office collections?

– Yes, producers should pass a resolution to not release films on OTT till at least six months from the date of their theatrical release. This might help to boost the box-office. Also, admission rates and prices of concessionaires need to be reduced, to bring the audience back to the cinemas. There are lakhs of people who have stopped going to the cinemas (except for a film that is carrying extraordinary reports) because of the huge expenditure involved in watching films in cinemas and also because OTT content now occupies the place (in people’s minds) which cinemas once occupied. Drastic measures need to be taken to return to the good old days when cinema was king.

Is there a golden rule to ensure a good opening to a star-cast film?

– I don’t know whether it’s a golden rule or not but it is tried and tested and has been working since years. A fantastic trailer and hit/superhit music can ensure a good opening to a star-cast film.

YOU ASKED IT | 24 March, 2023

Is it true that OMG 2 will be premiered on OTT instead of in cinemas?

– It’s not true as no final decision has still been taken.

On the one hand, hardly any films are working at the box-office, and on the other, multiplex chains like PVR and several others are opening new multiplexes left, right and centre. Isn’t this an anomaly?

– It may appear to be an anomaly, but the multiplex chains are expecting things to improve and business to not only revive and reach the pre-COVID levels but to also increase much more. That’s why they are investing crores of rupees in new multiplexes all over the country.

Can we expect Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan to take a healthy opening?

– Yes, KISI KA BHAI KISI KI JAAN should take a healthy initial because of Salman Khan and its songs which are gaining in popularity. 

YOU ASKED IT | 17 March, 2023

Which is the next film which the trade is looking forward to?

– Undoubtedly, BHOLAA. The film’s teaser and trailer have inspired the confidence of the trade people.

Is it a fact that the cinema-going habit of people has taken a back seat?

– Yes, with so much content available on OTT, the cinema-going habit of people has indeed taken a back seat. Entertainment discussions in a number of households now revolve around what they’ve seen on digital platforms rather than in the cinemas. Whether the trend will reverse or not in the course of time is to be seen. Television was not as big an opposition to cinema as OTT is.  

What is the truth in the news that Pippa will be premiered on OTT?

– There is no truth in the news that PIPPA will release on a digital platform rather than in the cinemas.